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Feb 7, 2024 | About Australia

Reasons Why Australia Is the Most Successful Economy of the 21st Century!

The Australian economy is, in many ways, truly remarkable. Though it started as a colony of the British Empire, this nation has quickly diverged and charted its path, and nowhere is this more evident than in the economy.

GDP or Gross Domestic Product is the best way to measure the size of a nation’s economy, as it is the value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a year. It is made up of 4 components – investment, consumption, government spending, and net exports. Thus it covers all aspects of an economy and is the best way to gauge the productive powers of a state.

Going by these criteria, Australia has a GDP of $1.4 trillion in USD, which is the 14th largest in the world. This is despite its relatively small population of just 25 million – which means that on an individual basis, Australia is one of the wealthiest countries on Earth, and certainly one of the most stable economies for reasons which we shall now get into.

The Australian economy’s GDP per capita is $54,000, which for comparison, is more than that of the United Kingdom, France, and Japan! On a per-capita basis, Australians are much more prosperous than most other nations. Combined with this is the extraordinary stability of the Australian economy, which has not experienced a recession in more than 28 years! This stellar performance of the Australian economy is because of several reasons, listed below. That’s given you one more reason to overcome your business challenges with translation.

Important Features of the Australian Economy

  • Australia has an impressive research ecosystem that makes it one of the most innovative countries. More than 40% of Australians have a tertiary education, and universities like the University of Melbourne, University of Sydney and Monash University are among the best in the world. Despite making up 0.3% of the global population, Australia is responsible for 4% of the world’s research publications, being a global leader in fields like healthcare, engineering and climate studies. 
  • Australia’s abundance of natural resources such as iron, coal, gold, uranium, natural gas, oil, copper, aluminium and other minerals provide an impetus for a strong mining sector. The export of ores and minerals makes up a significant chunk of the Australian economy!
  • Large tracts of arable and fertile land, which is useful for growing crops, especially cereals, and pastoral activities such as the rearing of cows and sheep. The Murray-Darling river system is an enormous tract of fertile land in Australia, and a large portion of the food crops and animal products are farmed here. This has helped Australia become a major exporter of products like meat, wheat, wool and dairy. Australia has many, many more sheep and cows than people!
  • A strong manufacturing sector centred around Sydney and Melbourne that makes up a large chunk of GDP and provides employment to millions. Australia manufactures all sorts of products and is known for a very high degree of labour productivity. Some world-famous Australian brands include Billabong, Holden, Qantas, Vegemite, Weet-Bix and Woolworth.
  • Due to its massive size, Australia has a larger than usual transport sector comprising roads, rails, flights and shipping that not only stitches the country together and connects it to the world but also provides employment to many. The excellent quality of infrastructure also helps transport raw materials from the interior to the major ports for export, which helps increase trade as well.
  • A strong financial sector is another hallmark of the Australian economy. Australia has the sixth-largest pool of funds under management in the world. It is known for the strength of its banks, high level of financial inclusion and low barriers to investment (It takes just three procedures to start a business in Australia!). This has helped in attracting foreign capital, as well as providing high returns on investments to households. 
  • Australia has a strict rule of law and judicial independence that serves to attract corporations and investors as they are secure in their property rights. This provides a transparent and straightforward way for dispute resolution and increases trust in the system, which is essential for any economy. It is also one of the easiest places to do business in the world.
  • The Australian economy has strong macroeconomic foundations which include a low level of public debt, low inflation and unemployment, and some of the highest growth among developed countries! No wonder it has a AAA rating with a stable outlook by all three major global rating agencies. 
  • Australia is also a major tourist destination, with almost 9 million people visiting in 2019. Most of these tourists are from China, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. Not only are these a valuable source of foreign exchange, but the tourism industry also employs millions. The main tourist attractions of Australia include its stunning beaches, exotic wildlife, Ayers Rock or Uluru, major global cities like Sydney and Melbourne, the Great Barrier Reef and monuments like the Sydney Opera House. The Australian economy 2020 is host to the seventh-largest international tourism market in the world. 
  • Two other factors, trade and immigration, are so crucial to the Australian economy forecast that we have spun them off into their sections. Do keep reading to learn their all-encompassing importance to the Australian economy!

Australia’s Immigrant Fuelled Economy

How has immigration contributed to economic diversity in Australia? That is a question that needs an elaborate answer. Ever since the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, immigration has been central to the Australian ethos. Australia is a nation of immigrants, as the indigenous Aboriginals make up a small portion of the modern Australian population these days. It can thus be said that Australia has descended from the ships, and that still holds today.

Around 200,000 people migrate to Australia every year in search of economic prosperity, political freedom and a high standard of living. Today, more than 29% of the Australian population is composed of immigrants, a higher proportion than any other large country in the world! 

Australia is thus one of the most diverse countries on Earth, with almost 10 million immigrants in its fold – one of the largest immigrant populations to be found anywhere! These days, most of the migrants are from England (4%), China (2.6%), India (2.4%), New Zealand (2.3%) and the Philippines (1.1%). Cities like Sydney and Melbourne are incredibly cosmopolitan and teeming with people born in other countries. 

The first migrants to Australia were the British convicts who were deported to the Australian colonies as punishment were various offences. This, along with the voluntary immigration of Scottish, English and Irish people, was the foundation of Australian society.

The 1850s witnessed an immigration boom, as gold was discovered in Victoria. Hundreds of thousands made their way to Australia to strike it rich, and Melbourne became one of the largest and richest cities in the world almost overnight. 

Along with all these reasons the diversity in Australia also played a vital role in boosting its economy. You can get more details over here.

This coincided with the end of penal transportation of convicts, and signalled a fundamental change in Australian demographics, as thousands of Chinese made their way to Australia too. 

This migration of mostly British people to Australia continued over the decades until the onset of World War II. In this period, there was the birth of a distinct Australian ethnicity based on Anglo-Scottish-Celtic migrants combined with the growth of private land ownership and manufacturing. 

In 1901, after the Federation of Australia into a single Commonwealth, Australia enacted the ‘White Australia’ policy, which remained in place till 1793, and restricted non-white immigration to Australia, especially from Asian and Pacific Islander countries. This policy was often criticized for being racist. Still, it resulted in scores of non-British Europeans making their way to the Land Down Under, including Greeks, Italians and other South Europeans. 

After almost being invaded by Japan in World War II, Australia realized its vulnerability vis-a-vis its sparse population settlements. This resulted in the maxim ‘Populate or Perish’, where Australia became home to millions of immigrants in a bid to increase the Australian population and decrease the nation’s weakness in this regard. 

In 1973, the White Australia Policy was finally dismantled by the Australians, and a new Multicultural Australia Policy was implemented, which encouraged immigration from all countries regardless of race, language or religion. This was the basis of the modern Australian nation, which is renowned for its welcoming attitude to people of all nations. 

Today, Asian countries make up the bulk of immigrants to Australia, mainly from countries such as India, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, and Bangladesh. Australia has a well-defined system for accepting immigrants. 

There is today no discrimination based on race, ethnicity, language, religion or nationality for migrating to Australia. Those who are interested in moving to Oz should read the Australian citizenship guidelines thoroughly; however, there is a stringent procedure regarding this set out in the law. 

Immigrants have helped to enrich Australia in many different ways. Since mostly skilled migrants are taken in, they bring much-needed human resources to the country, especially for sectors that are experiencing a labour shortage. Culturally, they add their own nation’s culture to that of Australia, which is visible in cuisine, attire and art. It has also been observed that migrants are very entrepreneurial and often start thriving businesses that provide employment.

Not to mention, the vast amounts of capital and investment that come along with these migrants, as well as often closer ties with the country of origin, which functions as a sort of soft power. Thus, it is reasonably evident that the Australian economy is immigrant-fueled, and they are the reason for Australia’s prosperity and stability.

Trade in the Australian Economy

Trade is an extremely vital part of the Australian economy, especially as it has positioned itself as an exporter of raw materials and minerals to developing countries (especially China) while becoming a major importer of manufactured goods in return. In the last two decades, Australia has benefited tremendously from the industrialization of China as a supplier of essential commodities such as coal, grain, minerals and meat. 

Historically, most of Australia’s trade used to be with Western countries. Before the Federation of Australia, each colony was independent and traded with the British homeland separately. Even in those times, Australia was renowned as a significant supplier of raw materials like coal, metals, meat, wool and grain. 

However, over the past hundred years, predominance in trade has slowly but steadily shifted several times, first from the United Kingdom of Great Britain to the United States of America, to Japan, and now, most recently, to the People’s Republic of China. These reflect the shifting centre of gravity of the global economy over the years.

The Australian government has taken cognizance of the value of trade in Australia’s economic development and aimed to promote it even further through the signing of Free Trade Agreements. Australia has Free Trade Agreements with New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Chile, the United States, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, China and ASEAN. Meanwhile, negotiations over trade deals are also ongoing with India, Indonesia and the European Union. 

Australia is an exporter of mostly agricultural and mineral commodities such as iron ore, coal, gold, natural gas and oil, aluminium, copper, beef, meat, and wool. Most of these products are exported to China (32.6%) to feed its rapid industrialization – which caused a massive mining boom in Australia in the 2000s. Other significant markets for Australian exports include Japan (13.1%), South Korea (5.9%), USA (5.3%), India (4.9%) and New Zealand (3,4%). 

In contrast to its exports, which mostly consist of raw or semi-processed industrial and agricultural commodities, Australia’s main imports are manufactured goods namely automobiles, telecom equipment, petroleum, computers, furniture, medicine and engineering equipment. Most of these come from industrialized or industrializing countries such as China (19.4%), America (12.3%), Japan (6.4%), Germany (4.5%), Thailand (4.1%) and the United Kingdom (4%). That makes Australia one of the leading global economic hubs. That is why many global industries use our translation services.

As we can see, both in imports and exports, Australia’s largest trade partner is the People’s Republic of China, whose phenomenal economic growth over the last two decades was fuelled by Australian raw materials, and which in turn has brought great prosperity to Australia and created a boom in mining and agriculture. China is now the primary source of foreign investment in Oz, and economic ties between these two countries are now extremely close. 

The importance of trade in Australia’s economy has led to a big demand for language translation services in Australia. To learn more about Australian translation services and how we can serve you in this regard, click here

As we can see, the Australian economy is truly impressive, having defied the odds several times over to grow for 28 years straight without an Australian economy recession. The Australian economy’s focus on immigration, exports, research and development and ease of doing business has allowed it to secure unprecedented prosperity and high standards of living for its citizens. This is along with a vibrant democracy, multicultural society and commitment to social justice, which have all led to Australia being consistently ranked as one of the best places in the world to live. 

We hope you enjoyed this blog and learned a lot about the Australian economy. We regularly upload similarly interesting blogs and articles that you will surely love, so do keep watching this space for more! Thank you for reading!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a significant factor in the economy of Australia?

The economy of Australia relies on trade. Australia has a history of exporting raw resources to Great Britain, its previous colonial authority, and other European nations.

2. Why is Australia so successful?

With a market-based economy and a relatively high gross domestic product and per individual revenue, Australia is regarded as a wealthy country. The service industry and the sale of goods power its economy.

3. Why is Australia a prosperous country?

Australia’s economy has expanded more quickly than any other significant industrialized nation since 1992. We have abundant natural resources, a sophisticated services industry, and a highly trained population.

Emily Chen

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